One of my friends is pregnant. Actually; wait. THREE of my friends are pregnant right now, but only one in-town friend, who I have the advantage of being able to bother daily. I mean, I doubt she’s having a baby just to make ME happy, or anything, but I think it was awfully nice of her, anyway. Smooshy baby cheeks! Yummy baby knees! I can hardly wait! (And in the meantime: Vicarious shopping! Pregnancy jokes! Better-you-than-me comments! She sure is lucky to have me as a friend, I tell you what!)
I have thus far really been enjoying my peek into impending-third-child-dom. For example, her daughter—who is in kindergarten—is absolutely ECSTATIC. She was announcing that her mommy was having a baby to random people at the supermarket, even before it was visually obvious. On the other hand, her son—who is Monkey’s age—was completely disgusted and dejected at the news… until he found out that he’ll probably be getting a new bedroom, and then suddenly he was extremely pro-baby.
Granted, this may not be quite as amusing to the mom-to-be as it is to the rest of us, but I appreciate her taking this particular bullet for our enjoyment.
Anyway, as I mentioned in passing, Monkey had a sleepover with with his buddies Franklin and TheZ this weekend. It’s TheZ’s mom who is pregnant, so perhaps that was a topic of conversation when I broke up the giggling at 3:30 in the morning? I don’t know. What I know is that Franklin’s mom (who is also a friend, thank goodness) sent me the following email yesterday:
Franklin told me that he and Monkey came up with a secret language today at school. Among other things, they now have one for “having sex.” Ask him to show you what it is!
I asked Franklin where he heard about this? And what does it mean? He said they talked about it Sat night, and Monkey said what it was, and then Franklin and TheZ just faked knowing what it was. And what is sex, according to Monkey? When a boy pees in a girl’s butt.
Needless to say, this is not the sort of email that fills a mother’s heart with joy.
I was MORTIFIED. Particularly as I’m pretty sure that Monkey actually understands the facts, and it seemed weird to me that he would say something like that. I was plotting my heartfelt apology when she sent me a second email, asking if perhaps my son was educating all the boys on the playground, and maybe the girls, too!
Monkey is a lot of things, but covert (and confused!) sex-ed educator isn’t one of them. (At least, I didn’t think so.) Clearly I needed to get to the bottom of this.
“Monkey!” I called.
“What did I do?” he called back, which made me think that I really need to work on my tone of voice. He came into the room warily, and I had to laugh.
“You didn’t do anything,” I said, making a spot for him to sit down. “At least, I don’t think you did. I just want to talk to you, okay?” He nodded. “So, I got a funny email from Franklin’s mom. Something about you guys coming up with a secret language with a sign for having sex?” Immediately his face got the oh-crap-I’m-in-trouble look. “It’s FINE, honey, you’re not in trouble. I just wanted to talk to you about it.”
“We were just fooling around and being silly,” he offered.
“Okay,” I said. “Monkey, can you tell me what sex is?” He looked stricken. “It’s not a trick question. Can you tell me what sexual intercourse involves?”
He started waving his hands around. “It’s when, um, a man puts his penis in a lady’s vagina?”
“Right!” He looked relieved. “And then what happens?”
“Some, um, stuff comes out of his penis? And goes up to the egg?”
“Right again!” He managed a weak smile. “Okay, one more: What’s that ‘stuff’ called?”
“Uhhhhh… semen? Sperm?”
“Very good! The substance is called semen, and it contains sperm, which is what fertilizes the egg. You have a great memory, buddy.” He smiled a little wider. “But, honey, Franklin’s mom mentioned that maybe you were all talking during the sleepover and that Franklin said you said that sex is when a man pees in a girl’s butt…?”
I should’ve grabbed my camera before we started talking. The range of facial expressions that followed were really unlike anything I’d ever seen before. The poor kid didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, beg forgiveness or feign ignorance.
“Well—” he started.
“Let me just stop you a sec,” I interrupted. “I want to tell you again that you are not in trouble, but that if you start lying or making things up, you will be. So think carefully about what you want to say, please.”
He nodded, took a deep breath, and started again. “Okay, the secret language thing was just us being silly, Mom. We were just goofing around. But I’m not the one who said that… peeing thing. That was TheZ! He said that and I knew it was wrong, so then I told him what sex ACTUALLY is.”
Now it was my turn to try not to laugh.
“Okay, buddy, I think I understand what happened, now. But when I talked to you and your sister about this stuff, do you remember what I told you about telling other kids?”
“That we shouldn’t tell them?” He really does have a good memory.
“That’s right. And why not?”
“Because it’s GROSS?”
I did not actually manage to squelch my laughter, this time. “Monkey, not because it’s gross! I mean, I know it SEEMS gross to you. But that’s not why. You don’t talk about it to other kids who don’t already know, because this is something for parents to talk to their kids about. It’s not your job to explain to Franklin and TheZ how sex works, okay?” He looked sad again. “Sweetie, it’s okay, I just wanted to remind you that when a kid doesn’t already know, you should try to just let it go so that he can talk to his mom or dad about it, okay?” He nodded. “One more thing: Did you tell the boys it was a secret?”
He shuffled his feet a bit. “Well, I sort of remembered I wasn’t supposed to talk about it, after I already told them. So I told them it was a secret.”
I nodded. “Okay. I see what you were trying to do, there. Thank you for telling me the truth.”
I gave him a hug and he went back to his homework.
Then I sent an email to TheZ’s mom, handling the issue in my usual mature manner:
[Franklin's mom] contacted me because apparently Monkey decided to inform his pals about the mechanics of sex while they were here Saturday night. First she said that Monkey said that a man “pees in a girl’s butt” and when I talked to him he said that no, THEZ said that and so he was explaining to them that the man puts his penis in the girl’s vagina and sperm comes out.
After relaying this to [Franklin's mom], she said that she talked to Franklin and Franklin said yes, that’s right, TheZ said the first thing, then Monkey set him straight.
Dude. You got pregnant from [husband's name redacted] peeing in your butt. ;)
I’m just glad that everyone saw the humor in this incident. With a different group of boys or moms, this could’ve been a huge mess.
(Insert your own mess/peeing joke here. Obviously.)